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Salary of An Astrophysicist with a PhD?

  1. Dec 4, 2012 #1
    Ok so ever since I've been little I wanted to be a doctor but getting farther into my undergraduate work I really enjoy working in astrophysics...but the catch is i like money. Cal my greedy or whatever but I like medicine both as mind stimulation and obviously outstanding pay. My question is does anyone know the average or personal salary being an astrophysicist with a PhD? Also, how easy is it to find a job in the field?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 4, 2012 #2
  4. Dec 4, 2012 #3

    eri

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    There are more people who want to be astrophysicists than there are jobs for them. You take the job you can get, so you get very little choice in where you live - you go where the job takes you. Myself and many of my friends have recently gotten jobs in the field. Postdocs (many jobs require 2-6 years of postdoc work after grad school) pay between 35k and 55k a year. First jobs after that pay between 40k and 120k. Only two of my friends are making over 100k (both for NASA as civil servants); the rest of us are making between 40k and 70k working for colleges and universities. It's not going to make you rich, and you don't get much choice in where you live. Sounds like you've be better off going for medicine - but if med schools even think you're in it for the money, you won't get in.
     
  5. Dec 4, 2012 #4
    thanks for the input, I don't know cause I really like physics but just desire higher pay. I just think the work that involves a physics career would be so mentally rewarding.. Even if you do/don't make the money you'd like, do you enjoy going to work everyday?
     
  6. Dec 4, 2012 #5

    eri

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    Yes, I enjoy my work. I like my job, but it takes up almost all of my time, and as a result I have pretty much no life outside my job. It pays more than enough for me to live on since I learned to be pretty frugal in grad school. I don't need more money, and a higher salary wouldn't be enough incentive for me to leave the job. But then, studies have shown that women aren't as motivated by money as guys are.
     
  7. Dec 4, 2012 #6
    What about a higher salary, fewer work hours (so you can have a life outside your job), a chance to choose where you live, etc.

    Personally, I left physics not because of the money, but because of everything else about the lifestyle. I didn't want to wait until my mid-to-late 30s to start settling into a career and a life.

    To the OP- science, as a career, has all the stress, career uncertainty, and competition of a high-salary job without the high-salary.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2012
  8. Dec 5, 2012 #7

    eri

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    I managed to move somewhere I like to live, so I got lucky there. I can't say for sure I'd have more of a life anywhere else, and every time I move I need to make new friends anyway, so I might as well stay here. I work a lot, but since I like my job, I'm fine with that. Again, the salary doesn't matter as much as long as I can live comfortably, and I do. It's too late for me to stop before I get to my early thirties with no family, and 10 years ago I wouldn't have believed I would care about that. But hey, I got lucky. Most of my friends didn't get so lucky.
     
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